The Harmony in Nature

Nature has always been a source of inspiration for me, both from a career perspective and as a retreat for clearing my mind. The opportunity to travel to 16+ countries to capture beautiful moments and scenery has been an incredible experience.

In these adventures, I've followed the calling of nature, animals, and exotic landmarks. I'm honored that Getty Images has featured some of my photos. Also excited to see if they inspire designers around the world to reflect the story of their designs. 

Please do take a look and enjoy!

The Rhythm of Dance and the Beats it creates for design

As designers, we spend hours behind the computer, creating our work and harvesting the pixel perfect rendition of each project. It’s easy to go straight to the computer, opening illustrator or InDesign and getting right to work. But, where does creativity come from? How do we get the best and most creative ideas? How do we train our brain to think differently and look at each challenge with a fresh perspective?

This past year I’ve been making a conscious effort to spend more time away from the computer as part of my process. I must admit, it hasn’t been easy since being accustomed to a deadline driven approach, stepping away to connect with my creative side is putting trust in the uncertainty of time needed for ideas to surface. However, just like anything else it’s a practice and eventually trusting your instincts that the ideas will present themselves in the most unlikely manner is part of the journey. Which brings me to how dance can be one of those unlikely manners.

I’ve been dedicating 3-4 sessions per week to dancing with a Middle Eastern and Polynesian ensemble in preparation for the Spring 2017 concert. Although I have danced several times on stage before, this kind of weekly dedication is certainly a challenge in endurance and honing dance skills. What I’m learning though is dance is very much like design in many ways. Knowing the technique is an important base, however the choreography formulates in a fluid manner as the dance director moves dancers around, creates a rhythm for smooth formations, organizes the dancers according to height and featured skills. Each rendition of the dance is organic, but technique is never forgotten even when a movement is tweaked to better tell a story. Dancers move around like paint brushes, flowing into place like paint on canvas. In the end it looks simple, yet the complexities are what make it look so effortless.

This experience is opening my mind to the core of great design in a very unique way. I can imagine myself as a paint brush or a pixel and think as if I am inside of a project. In addition to the great physical and mental exercise, the connection between dance and design is such a harmonic approach to our craft. In essence we are taking steps into a formation that represents how the rhythm of dance is like the beats for design.

the heart of our community

Every year in October, the creative community gathers to participate in a national program called GUTS. The program was started by CRAFTED, a marketing agency in North Carolina as an internal team building event which has now grown to be a national event with the support of local AIGA chapters, agencies and community sponsors. The goal of GUTS is to support Make-A-WIs in their ongoing efforts to fulfill the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. 

Throughout 2016 I've been serving as the Design for Good Co-Chair of AIGA Orange County. Being involved with causes I care about has been an instinct that I've always followed because seeing the impact first hand, not only sets a positive footprint in our communities but transforms the way we see the world. I feel truly blessed to have been part of the efforts in organizing the very first GUTS event in Orange County with support of AIGA OC and host/sponsoring agency 454 Creative. Since Orange County is saturated with amazing causes and charities, it is a challenge to put a spotlight on a specific cause, and I think it is worth it when people take notice and see the vision come to life because that is when transformation from vision to actual change happens. Seeing children who share their experience in person, the families, all those who are directly affected by the fundraising efforts transcends words and the outcome is only the beginning of greater awareness yet to come. What inspired me about this particular event was the uniqueness and creativity involved in carving spectacular pumpkins by teams from not only the creative industry, but also other organizations that connect to their artistic side for this cause and produce amazing sculptural works of art. Since I grew up in the middle east and never had pumpkin carving as a tradition, it gave me a much greater appreciation for the craft, creativity, and hard work that goes into carving pumpkins. 

I hope with positivity and endless energy we can all contribute to the causes we believe in. I look forward to sharing my experiences and hearing about yours.